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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hoist A Hard Top - Home Built - My Solution!

I purchased the Hoist A Top from Lange and was disappointed in the build quality particularly in light of the cost. So I searched these forums trying to come up with a better solution. My final solution is based on the Hoist A Top design and incorporates many of the suggestions made here.

First of all I didn't want to do any welding. Secondly I wanted a lift that was unquestionably strong enough to do the job absolutely reliably. It had to be economical, easy to build, and assembled from readily available materials.

I used Harbor Freight's Electric Hoist suspended from a 1 1/2 inch, 6 foot piece of galvanized plumbing pipe available from Home Depot. The Harbor Freight electric hoist was suspended from the 6 foot pipe which spanned 4 joists in order to dissipate the load from the hoist. The pipe was secured with clips (from Home Depot) to the joists.

I then went to my local "Unistrut" distributor and built the hoist frame based on an reference to Unistrut from BarefootRubi's hoist frame post here: http://jeepforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=185537&highlight=hoist

Total Cost:

Electric Hoist from Harbor Freight: $75
Package of 4 tie downs from Harbor Freight: $9
6 foot 1 1/2 inch steel plumbing pipe from Home Depot: $20
Unistrut built from scrap: $35 (May be more - my distributor was very agreeable and even helped me build it for free)
Foam pipe insulation from any plumbers supply: $9
Miscellaneous Hardware: $35

I added additional eyebolts on all three corners for safety and used Harbor Freight tie downs for security.

This unit is built far better than the "Hoist-A-Top" from Lange.

I've misplaced my Unistrut Receipt but will post the particular parts used in the construction of the lift when I find them.





 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
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You don't have permission to access /picture/sraid183/p1582f6aa862c0d03665431c9c3db526b/f2b96d31.jpg on this server. :confused:

Still not working
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
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I built mine out of the square tube with eyes and such. But where did you find the hooks? Those look better than the ones I found at Lowes :confused:
Being a bit on the budget side, I used a boat trailer hand winch for mine. It works great! :thumbsup:
 

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Yeah, those 'hoist-a-top' setups are huge ripoffs.

I built my hardtop lifter a few years ago, with a 440lb Harbor Freight hoist that was on sale for $59 with free S&H....and two ratchet straps with hooks on the end that I feed through each side of the top from the doors back through the rear window hole; and then connect all 4 ends in the center over the hardtop with a Circle-Ring that attaches to the hoist hook.

I installed the hoist upstairs in the rafters above the garage with a couple 2' peices of pipe, and for summer storage peice of mind, I installed 4 large eyelet screws into the rafters and ran 4 ratchet straps from the rafters down to the 4 corners of the hardtop to take the resting weight off of the hoist-line.

It took me about an hour to put this setup together, and only cost me about $70-80 bucks (much better than the $300+ hoist-a-top systems the 4WD mags sell).

Now, I can put my hardtop on, or take it off in about 5 minutes...completly by myself...the slowest part now is taking off and putting on the 6 torx-bolts that affix the top to the Jeep body.

I have been running this setup for 3 years now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Unistrut stock I used was P1000 H3. The unistrut fitting is the P2346 and cost $10.65.

The cross bar of the T measures 52 inches on both the standard WB TJ and the LWB TJ.

The base of the T measures 46 to 48 inches (I used 48) on the standard TJ and on the unlimited it measures 60 inches to 64 inches (I used 62 inches).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
twhditto said:
I built mine out of the square tube with eyes and such. But where did you find the hooks? Those look better than the ones I found at Lowes :confused:
Being a bit on the budget side, I used a boat trailer hand winch for mine. It works great! :thumbsup:
Two options:

One: Buy a 9 inch 1/2 inch bolt (available at Lowe's) or if you can find it somewhere else buy a 12 inch 1/2 inch bolt and bend it into the proper shape and cut off the nut end. Then go to plumbing and buy 1/2 inch tubing that will fit over it perfectly. This is a better solution than either the liquid rubber or electricians tape. The 9 1/2 inch bolt will barely be long enough.

Two: Buy a 12 inch bar stock, bend it, thread one end and then put the 1/2 inch tubing on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
mr_federalist said:
Is leaving the rear glass extended any issue?
Not for me. It doesn't look as tidy and does take up a little more room. The former doesn't bother me at all. The latter can be solved by minor modifications of the setup enabling you to close the rear window.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
SimonTuffGuy said:
Maybe I just don't see it... But where did the 6 foot 1 1/2 inch steel plumbing pipe from Home Depot come into play at?

I like the idea of your lift, it looks pretty quick and easy. What method would you suggest for hoisting with the rear window being shut?
Well, there's two different things you would get in the plumbing department. If you are bending your own 1/2 inch stock you'd cover it in 1/2 inch (internal dimension) plumbing tubing. This tubing is plastic and keeps the hook from damaging the finish when hoisting the top.

The second thing you'd need to get from a plumbing supply company: Pipe insulation to cover the unistrut stock so it doesn't damage the hard top.

Hope this helps.
 

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Not for me. It doesn't look as tidy and does take up a little more room. The former doesn't bother me at all. The latter can be solved by minor modifications of the setup enabling you to close the rear window.
My hard top has been on a hoist with the glass up for the better part of four years. No issues here.

I do want to say that bobhaverford has the best looking hoist a top solution I have seen Way better than my Lang...:thumbsup:
 

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Yeah, those 'hoist-a-top' setups are huge ripoffs.

Now, I can put my hardtop on, or take it off in about 5 minutes...completly by myself...the slowest part now is taking off and putting on the 6 torx-bolts that affix the top to the Jeep body.

I have been running this setup for 3 years now.
totally cool .. Loose those torx bits and flip over to some Eye Bolts. !! 5/16 should work .. I put a Wing Nut on the bottom and threaded a nut to the top... works fantastic and gives me extra tie points in the Tub ~ in the front (between the rollbar and tub) just a regular bolt with wing nuts as well
 

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Pulling up an old thread...where did you get the hooks for your hoist? I have looked at the typical places like Home Depot and Lowes, but cannot find anything with a machine thread, everything I have found has been a lag bolt type thread for wood. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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I found mine at Lowes. It is where the hooks, and storage things are. These were among the hooks that look like a "J" are located. There are bicycle hooks and things like that in the vicinity of where these were. They were only like a buck or two back four or five years ago. I coated mine with that liquid plastic stuff you find in the car isle at Walmart. Good luck!
 

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Two options:

One: Buy a 9 inch 1/2 inch bolt (available at Lowe's) or if you can find it somewhere else buy a 12 inch 1/2 inch bolt and bend it into the proper shape and cut off the nut end. Then go to plumbing and buy 1/2 inch tubing that will fit over it perfectly. This is a better solution than either the liquid rubber or electricians tape. The 9 1/2 inch bolt will barely be long enough.

Two: Buy a 12 inch bar stock, bend it, thread one end and then put the 1/2 inch tubing on it.
Pulling up an old thread...where did you get the hooks for your hoist? I have looked at the typical places like Home Depot and Lowes, but cannot find anything with a machine thread, everything I have found has been a lag bolt type thread for wood. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
He made them from other materials, read above.
 

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Yes, he did. But mine was with these simple hooks. The top does not weigh a whole lot. I have used this system for years without any problems. I constructed a "T" shape from square metal, attached a hook on each side and two in the back, put it all on a boat crank, and it works great putting on and taking off.
 
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